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Planning Daily Activities With Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease can affect many aspects of a person's daily life. However, with careful planning and activity moderation, the effects of Parkinson's can become much less stressful and intrusive.

The following suggestions offer guidance to overcome some of the difficulties associated with the disease.

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  • Plan periods of rest. Be sure to get plenty of rest. You may need to plan at least one rest period every day. If you have swelling in your feet or ankles, elevate your legs when you are resting or sitting for prolonged periods. Avoid working long days. Rest between recreation and leisure activities.

  • Conserve your energy. Using less energy with daily tasks can help you have more energy to do more activities during the day. You may need to cut down on some of your activities or use energy-saving devices or techniques. If daily self care or home care activities are too tiring, discuss this with your doctor.

Energy Conserving Tips for Those With Parkinson's Disease

  • Simplify your tasks and set realistic goals. Don't think you have to do things the same way you've always done them.
  • Plan your activities (chores, exercise, and recreation) ahead of time. Space them out throughout the day. Do not schedule too many things to do in one day. Do the things that take more energy when you are feeling your best.
  • If needed, rest before and after activities.
  • If you become tired during an activity, stop and rest. You may need to finish it on another day or when you feel less tired.
  • Do not plan activities right after a meal. Rest 20-30 minutes after each meal.
  • Ask for help. Divide the tasks among family and friends.
  • Get a good night's sleep and elevate your head when sleeping. Be careful not to nap too much during the day or you might not be able to sleep at night.
  • If your doctor says it's ok, you may climb steps. You may need to rest part of the way if you become tired. Try to arrange your activities so you do not have to climb up and down stairs many times during the day.
  • Avoid extreme physical activity. Do not push, pull, or lift heavy objects (more than 10 pounds) that require you to strain.

Getting Dressed With Parkinson's Disease

  • Get dressed while sitting in a chair that has armrests -- this will help you keep your balance.
  • Roll from side to side to get pants over your hips. You can do this while sitting in a chair or lying down on your bed.
  • Wear clothes that are loose fitting and have elastic waistbands.
  • Choose wrap-around clothing instead of the pullover type. Also choose clothing that opens in the front, not the back so you don't have to reach behind you.
  • Wear clothing with large, flat buttons, zippers, or Velcro closures.
  • Use a button hook to button clothing.
  • Use a dressing stick if you have shoulder weakness to get your coat or shirt on or off.
  • Use a zipper pull or attach a leather loop on the end of the zipper to zip pants or jackets.
  • Wear slip-on shoes or buy elastic shoelaces that allow you to slip your shoes on and off without untying the laces. Use devices such as a sock donner and long-handled shoehorn for additional assistance.

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